CHIRPY CA­NARIES SET FOR TAKE-OFF Boss Neil re­vives feel-good fac­tor

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Joshua Mur­ray

RUS­SELL Martin be­lieves Car­row Road is once again brim­ming with a pos­i­tiv­ity that went miss­ing for too long – and he’ll be do­ing ev­ery­thing in his pow­ers to en­sure bit­ter ri­vals Ip­swich Town don’t blow it away to­day.

Nor­wich are the Cham­pi­onship’s form side with five suc­ces­sive wins and seven from their last nine league matches thrust­ing them back into the thick of the pro­mo­tion race.

That run has co­in­cided with the ar­rival of manager Alex Neil from Hamil­ton Aca­dem­i­cal, with the 33year-old set to ex­pe­ri­ence his first East Anglian derby at a time when both sides covet the points more than ever.

For Martin, it is Neil’s in­flu­ence and the win­ning en­ergy at the club that have helped to re­store a sense of much­needed op­ti­mism.


“We have got a lot of mo­men­tum and be­lief at the minute, and the feel-good fac­tor is back – that hasn’t been there for a while,” the 29-year-old de­fender said.

“Some­times you just get a feel­ing in team sports that ev­ery­one re­ally is pulling in the right di­rec­tion to­gether and the be­lief is build­ing.

“Even when we were 1-0 down on Tues­day at Black­burn Rovers, we were pretty con­fi­dent that we were go­ing to win the game, and we got the late goal to do that.

“Late goals were a hall­mark of the last time we got pro­moted, and that shows the char­ac­ter and de­sire to win games that you need to earn pro­mo­tion.

“Now we have put our­selves in and amongst it all we don’t want to waste the hard work, so it is up to us to make sure we keep it go­ing.

“We have not been look­ing too far ahead, the manager al­ways preaches to us that it is all about the next game. It was the same at half­time the other night, that sec­ond half was the big­gest 45 min­utes of our sea­son, and now it is the same with the Ip­swich game.”

Gary Hooper is fit to re­turn to the squad af­ter not trav­el­ling to Black­burn on Tues­day while Vadis Od­jidja-Ofoe is also in con­tention to take a spot in the 18.

How­ever, Ryan Bennett (ham­string) won’t be in­volved de­spite re­turn­ing to full train­ing this week while El­liott Bennett (ham­string) and Gary O’Neil (toe) will also def­i­nitely miss out.

But who­ever lines up for the Ca­naries, Martin – who scored against Ip­swich in a 5-1 win in the pro­mo­tion-win­ning sea­son of 2010-11 – knows to ex­pect a feisty at­mos­phere on a po­ten­tially piv­otal af­ter­noon.


“This fix­ture has al­ways got a bit of added spice,” Martin added. “It means a lot to the fans and both foot­ball clubs in gen­eral.

“We have to ap­proach it as an­other game, but also be aware of the im­por­tance it bears and how much it means to our fans and ev­ery­one around the place.

“They are big games, ev­ery one I have played in has had a bril­liant at­mos­phere, and for­tu­nately I have been in some good per­for­mances and re­sults in the end – hope­fully that will con­tinue.

“Both teams are fight­ing for the same thing at the minute, so it could be quite a big one.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

FUN TIME: Rus­sell Martin and his Nor­wich team­mates are on a high

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